Turtle Cake Squares: German Chocolate Cake Twist

by Alli

This post, Turtle Cake Squares, contains affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

To see my collection of recipes with pecans, check out my Best Recipes Featuring Pecans.

This recipe for Turtle Cake Squares starts with a German chocolate cake mix. These squares are perfect for dessert, snacks or when you’re craving chocolate and nothing else will do.

When I was growing up, two of my favorites that mom made were German Chocolate Cake and Turtles candy. Even when I was all grown up, she continued to make the best turtles I’ve ever eaten. This recipe reminds me of my two favorites that mom made so it’s kinda special to me.

This recipe is not only delicious but it’s easy to make as well. It bakes in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and makes enough for my large family. I love that I don’t have to double a recipe to make sure I have enough to go around.

Ingredients For Turtle Cake Squares

This easy recipe requires a German chocolate cake mix, a bag of caramels, evaporated milk, butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and pecans (or your favorite nuts). My favorite happens to be pecans so that’s how I roll.

Preparation Steps

In a double boiler over medium heat, combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Helpful Hint: If you don’t have a double boiler, you can buy one here

In place of a double boiler, you can simmer a few inches of water in a saucepan. Place a metal or glass bowl on top of a saucepan, making sure the bowl fits snugly. Be careful when you remove the bowl from the top of the saucepan because it will be hot.

Double Boiler to melt caramels for Turtle Cake Squares

Combine the cake mix with the butter and remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a mixing bowl. Mix until well blended. Press half of the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350º F. for 6 minutes.

Press first layer of Turtle Cake Squares into the pan.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips.

Sprinkle first layer with chocolate chips

Sprinkle chopped pecans over the chocolate chips.

Sprinkle Pecans Over the Chocolate Chips to Make Turtle Cake Squares

Pour the caramel mixture evenly over the chips and nuts.

Pour caramel over the nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop the remainder of the cake mixture over the caramel. Return to the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Turtle Cake Squares - Ready to Bake

Cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Turtle Cake Squares Ready to Serve

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Turtle Cake Squares

How to make Turtle Cake Squares


  • 1 bag caramels (14 oz)
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, butter and remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Beat until well combined.
  4. Press half of the cake mixture in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350º for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over crust. Pour caramel mixture evenly over chips and pecans. Drop remainder of cake mixture over the caramel mixture.
  5. Return to the oven and bake 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Cut into small bars. Store at room temperature.

Did you make this recipe?

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The next time you’re craving chocolate, try this recipe. You’ll love it! It’s the perfect dessert when entertaining family and friends.


robin rue February 4, 2019 - 6:09 am

Now this is my kind of treat. I am a big fan of “turtle” desserts, so I will most certainly be making these in the near future.

Shoshana Sue February 4, 2019 - 6:50 am

I can see why your my mom used to make this and why the recipe is special to you. The cake looks amazingly yummy. I would love to try out this recipe

Glenda Cates February 4, 2019 - 8:07 am

I love German Chocolate Cake and Turtles and so does my husband. For Valentines I think I will make this for my husband as a treat. Since he does so much for my son and I.

Amber Myers February 4, 2019 - 8:15 am

These would make a delicious dessert. I am pretty sure I’d love these. I tend to be a fan of all things with chocolate.

Jeanette February 4, 2019 - 8:25 am

Oh my gosh that looks so good. Yesterday with the Super Bowl I ate a whole lot of things I don’t normally. I wish I had made this because I am going to crave this.

candy February 4, 2019 - 8:35 am

Seems like I remember making something like this a long time ago. Now I am going to have to make this because talk about over the top delicious treat.

Shaliece Felder February 4, 2019 - 9:08 am

I’ve never heard of turtle cake squares but it seems like something I need to have in my life. You can’t go wrong with any recipe that has German chocolate cake mix, caramel, pecans & chocolate chips. Yum!

Natalie February 4, 2019 - 9:16 am

This is my first time coming across turtle cake square. I would love to try this by putting a vegan spin on it.

Jenn@Engineermommy February 4, 2019 - 2:07 pm

These squares look so yummy! I love caramel and chocolate. It’s like a brownie, but so many more flavors and textures!

Karen February 4, 2019 - 2:17 pm

This is an awesome treat! While I don’t have a double boiler, I do know someone who does, so that’ll be no problem to make! This looks delicious!

Kita Bryant February 4, 2019 - 3:14 pm

This looks easy. I am all about quick stuff to fix these days when it comes to dinner and dessert. I will make these for Valentine Day for my kids something we can do together

Lisa Favre February 4, 2019 - 6:38 pm

I have so many family members that would adore these squares! I should make it for Easter when I have everyone over!

Tasheena February 4, 2019 - 6:38 pm

This looks so yummy. I would love to try and make this for my family.

Heather February 4, 2019 - 8:12 pm

Now you’re speaking my language! I’m going to need to make these over the weekend. YUM!

Terri Steffes February 4, 2019 - 10:54 pm

Sweet heavens! These look so amazing. I can think of a number of places I would like to take them. I have a Galentine event coming up, maybe there!

Ricci February 4, 2019 - 11:48 pm

I love turtle everything! I need to try these Turtle Cake Squares ASAP!!

Chubskulit Rose February 5, 2019 - 9:09 am

This look like a great tea time dessert or snack. I am not a baker so I always envy person like you ha ha.

Ashley February 5, 2019 - 9:36 am

Oh man these look amazing!! I wish I wasn’t on keto… I’ll have to save for later.

Shelley KING February 5, 2019 - 9:52 am

This looks so amazing! I wish I liked nuts though. I wonder what it would taste like without the nuts? My family would love them so I will try it out!


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